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Friday 30 September 2016

Murphy wants change-up

The forgotten flanker is keen to remind Schmidt of his strengths

Leinster flanker Jordi Murphy launches Skill Zone, Dublin’s first and only multi-sport indoor attraction, in Sandyford.
Leinster flanker Jordi Murphy launches Skill Zone, Dublin’s first and only multi-sport indoor attraction, in Sandyford.

The harder you practice, the luckier you get. And, sometimes, the unluckier others get.

In the same week Josh van der Flier was confirmed as a victim of syndesmosis and scheduled for surgery that would end his stellar season, Sean O'Brien suffered a significant setback to his recovery from a torn hamstring.

This removes Ireland's first and second choice opensides from Jordi Murphy's path back for Leinster's drive for the PRO12 League title.

It was just three three short months ago the loose forward sat down to watch the beginning of the Six Nations, knowing he was the only member of the World Cup squad who missed out because of bad form.

This came down to two reasons.

Firstly, he struggled to come to terms with the first serious psychological blow of his career, the World Cup comedown.

"It was just one of those things," he said.

"I suppose players go through a few lows here and there and I haven't had a very long career up to now.

"I haven't really had any, so it was a strange one for me.

"Obviously, it was pointed out quite a lot," he said, of his uncharacteristic form.

The appearance of a difficult-to-shake groin injury did Murphy no favours either.

Commonplace

On the day former Ireland international Gordon D'Arcy explained how it was commonplace for players to carry on through injuries, Murphy confirmed the impression of how being on the field of play is all that matters at times.

"It's one of those things, D'Arce is spot on," he agreed.

"People play with those 80pc injuries all of the time. It was just trying to manage it and trying to play at that peak level.

"It wasn't from the lack of trying, I just couldn't' quite get there."

One attribute that separates Murphy from many others is his explosive pace onto the ball which, unfortunately, was denied to him by his injury.

"I suppose one of the strengths I've had over the last few years is that change-up onto the ball, even coming off the bench, giving that extra bit around the corner.

"And I just couldn't really find it," he admitted.

"It's the change and the explosiveness.

"If you're going to get that shooting pain every time, it's quite tough to do."

Now, his injury has cleared up from constant, intensive rehabilitation.

The probable inclusion of Murphy and Chris Henry at The RDS will interest Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, in terms of South Africa next month.

"When you first set out to play, it is about playing for Ireland.

"The way you get into that position is by playing for your province. That is the way I've always looked at it.

"If I play well enough, that will hopefully be enough for selection or to be included in the thought process."

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